The A-Z of Interior Design - C for Colour

Colour is impossible to ignore. Colour is everywhere. 
Whilst creating a colour scheme, how do you know which colours to use and which to leave out? The first thing to do is think of the colours that are closest to your heart. One colour may come to mind, but if you think carefully you will probably come up with a selection. Think about nature and the way vibrant colours surround us – the glorious sunsets, a field of poppies against a blue sky, the pebbles washed up on the shore, and, of course, the brilliant blue-green hues of the sea.

Students' colour studies:

Many people think there are definite rules about colour, but any colours can be put together as long as they have the same tonal value. Toning colours such as a soft blue and a soft green (see example below) can be combined, whereas a soft blue with an acid green would mean the green fights for attention. Generally, three types of colours are used for a successful interior design colour scheme:

Base colours – these are the colours that occupy the widest areas, ie, walls, floor, ceiling. The impact of a colour increases in direct proportion to the expanse it covers.

Foreground colours – these are colours that dominate in the furnishings of a room, ie sofas, tables, chairs etc. They need to harmonise with the base colours.

Accent colours – introduced to enliven the overall colour scheme of a room, through soft furnishings, art work, flowers, etc.

Complementary colours of red and green work well together in this bouquet:

Works of art can be used to inspire colour schemes within interior design.  These beautiful muted colours can translate easily into a room:

Don’t Panic!

If you are really stuck when you think about colour then you can always resort to the traditional method of using a colour wheel. This will give you a text-book guide to the primary colours, (red, blue and yellow), secondary colours (made from primary colours), and tertiary colours (a primary colour mixed with a secondary colour). The wheel (available from art shops) will guide you to which colours go together, just look at the ones which are opposite each other, or side by side, but be careful to always use colours of the same tonal value.

Contemporary Bauhaus

The A-Z of Interior Design - B (continued)

I thought I'd end the week with this Bauhaus-inspired contemporary home which demonstrates the influence that the Bauhaus holds in the 21st century.  Straight lines, block expanses of glass with white concrete, horizontal and vertical lines...

Large balconies link the outside to the interior...

Exposed concrete internal walls celebrate the Bauhaus ethos...

The 550-metre square house is located in an historic avenue in the heart of Haifa's French Carmel neighbourhood, Israel.   Light and space are enhanced with the expanses of glass...

Tel Aviv-based studio Pitsou Kedem Architects designed the Haifa House (Contemporary Bauhaus on the Carmel) which was built in 2011.

The A-Z of Interior Design continues next week…

The A-Z of Interior Design - B

Bauhaus - still relevant today and a major inspiration.  Here's a brief introduction and some images to explain why.

The Bauhaus period lasted a relatively brief fourteen years but has made a major mark in the history of 20th century art, architecture and design - evident in today’s open plan living spaces, kitchens, furniture, lamps and art. The Bauhaus style has clearly influenced contemporary architecture and interiors with clean lines, white walls or blocks of colour and the use of glass and concrete.

The Bauhaus (translation: house of building) was founded by architect, Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany in 1919 whose vision was to combine art, design and industry. At the Bauhaus School of Design, in Dessau, fine art students learnt to combine their artistic skills with new technology to design and manufacture products that were beautiful and practical. The Bauhaus building is open to visitors from 9-6 pm daily. 

Gropius was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement which had also united artists, craftspersons and industry. At that time new machines and technology created the ability to mass produce home products and the Bauhaus extended this innovative idea to architecture so architects and designers could move forward and create buildings of the future.

Gropius - the architect - felt that a building should be central to teaching the arts. He designed a new, contemporary asymmetrical college structure containing workshops, offices, living spaces and classrooms with simple, clean lines and an open feel using glass walls housed between white, concrete rendered strips.

Many renowned artists taught at the Bauhaus including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, Lyonel Feininger and Josef Albers - who was a past pupil along with his wife, Anni.

During the years 1924-28 the artist and architect, Theo van Doesburg taught at the Bauhaus and his lessons promoted flat primary colours and straight lines (rectangular, horizontal, vertical and horizontal, but never diagonal) from the Dutch De Stijl movement. 
Eventually the school’s ethos and teaching became more diverse and with different teachers the design of textiles, wallpapers, furniture and lighting were introduced. 

The Bauhaus days

A a few minutes walk from the Bauhaus building, in a small pine-tree wood, Walter Gropius also built the “Masters’ Houses”, where the Bauhaus teachers lived and worked. In 1925, the city of Dessau also commissioned Walter Gropius with the construction of three semi-detached houses for the Bauhaus masters and a detached house for its director. 

In 1926, Gropius and the Bauhaus masters László Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee moved in with their families. The houses were equipped with modern furniture and fitted cupboards integrated between kitchen and dining room, bedroom and studio. Gropius fitted his house exclusively with furniture by Marcel Breuer. The artists developed their own interior decor ideas and this is evident in Klee and Kandinsky’s colourful interior design which reflects their own artistic style.

Interleaved cubic forms of different heights, vertical rows of windows provide lighting for the stairways, large glass windows let in ample light, generous terraces and balconies, houses painted in light tones but window frames, undersides of balconies and downpipes in stronger colours

The Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer (1925) is one of the most iconic furniture pieces to emerge from the Bauhaus and demonstrates the link between art, design and machine production.